Tag Archives: C.N.E.

Things I Ate At The C.N.E. In 2015

CNE food 2015

CNE food 2015

Summer’s almost gone and that means one thing — the Canadian National Exhibition has started in Toronto.

All those discount merchandisers and over-the-hill musical acts are fine, but the real draw in Risky Fuel quarters are the many, many, many weird, wild and wonderful food vendors displaying their wares in the Food Building and in the C.N.E.’s midway.

Once again we tackled some of the most peculiar foods the Ex had on offer, experiencing Jamaican beef patties as a hamburger bun substitutes, the combination of chicken and Frosted Flakes and a whole lot more.

Read below to find out what our eating adventures were like…

Round one, August 21

Bub's Burger's Bad Boy. Spicy cheese, beef burger patty, honey garlic fried chicken filet, pepperjack cheese, wasabi cucumber, hickory stix, tomato sriracha mayo and buttermilk coleslaw all between two Jamaican beef patties.

Bub’s Burger’s Bad Boy. This is this year’s alpha stunt food — spicy cheese beef burger patty, honey garlic fried chicken filet, pepperjack cheese, wasabi cucumber, hickory sticks, tomato sriracha mayo and buttermilk coleslaw all between two Jamaican beef patties instead of traditional burger buns. For such an obvious monstrosity it’s actually… not bad. The honey garlic adds a nice tang, the chicken’s done right and the hickory sticks are a fun dining surprise. What’s wrong with the whole package, however, is its complete, utter and total disregard for structural integrity. There’s a reason why there’s a giant spear through the whole burger, after all. And as anyone who’s read my past CNE reports knows, structural integrity is a big deal. Because without it you end up with mess. And mess means my hands get dirty. And when my hands get dirty with food I get a little bit insane. Which happened as I paced through the Ex midway holding both my hands in the air desperate to find a washroom in which to wash them. 7.1/10

Chicken Waffle On A Stick

Chicken Waffle On A Stick. Dry chicken surrounded by a coating of what seemed similar to the batter used in making fortune cookies. The sauce options — hot sauce, table syrup, and something I can’t remember — were not excellent, so I chose the syrup. I chose wrong. This was an entirely unpleasant food experience. 4.6/10

Deep Fried Red Velvet Oreos

Deep Fried Red Velvet Oreos. Another of the marquee stunt foods this year, some stall in the Food Building had the smart idea to batter Oreos in a red velvet style and sell less of them (three)  for more money than you can buy regular deep fried Oreos (five) at the stands in the midway. Taste-wise they were fine for deep fryer junk food, but I can’t in good conscience recommend them when there’s a virtually identical product with better value available 100 metres away. 6/10

Barq's Root Beer with Vanilla

Barq’s Root Beer with Vanilla. I’ve given up on trying to avoid the long tentacles of the Coca-Cola/CNE Industrial Complex and decided to embrace that funky machine they have that creates like a thousand different flavour combinations. I’ve had the root beer + vanilla before. 5/10

Pickle Pete's Deep Fried Cheesecake

Pickle Pete’s Deep Fried Cheesecake. Another of the dazzler new food entries this year, the deep fried cheesecake combined two of my favourite things: 1) cheesecake, and 2) deep fried-ness. The result was something firmly on the tasty side of things, where the result ends up being vaguely cannoli-ish. It’s solidly good and as a midway deep fry vendor Pickle Pete’s is on point. 7.3/10

Pickle Pete's Deep Fried Green Beans

Pickle Pete’s Deep Fried Green Beans. Green beans are already right up there on the tasty vegetable scale, but batter and deep frying them then serving them with a chipotle mayo concoction bams them up even higher. These were solidly alright and if I was given the option of “deep fried green beans” or “french fries” as my side at a restaurant, I’d very likely take the beans. There was, however, one hitch to eating these: I had them immediately after eating the deep fried cheesecake, which was a very unfair thing to do to my tastebuds. 6.3/10

Round two, August 25

99 Cent Spaghetti

99 Cent Spaghetti. SWERVE! Just when you thought I was only all about the hyper-new stunt foods I go and try the 99 cent spaghetti from the classic 99 Cent Primo Spaghetti booth. It was my first time ever trying the buck-for-pasta deal (thoroughly acceptable for what it was, btw) and what I found most fascinating was the genius way the booth operates. Sure, you can get spaghetti for 99 cents, but Parmesan cheese is an extra 75 cents, meatballs $1.75, and if you don’t want the small cup of ‘getti, upsizing is $1.89. And when you see other people getting those things you want them, too. It’s classic get them through the door, then get them with the extras. I did not upsize, though, because I am, at my core, a frugal person. 5.5/10

Bentley's Deep Fried Poutine Balls

Bentley’s Deep Fried Poutine Balls. Now this is a brilliant idea. Encase a cheese curd in a ball of mashed potato, deep fry said potato curd ball, then slather with gravy and more cheese curd. It’s a totally effective twist on what’s already one of the greatest foods in the known universe. 6.8/10

Corrado's S&M Burger

Corrado’s S&M Burger. Another one of the marquee stunt foods this year, this one’s a meatball burger on a toasted garlic bun with spicy Havarti cheese, a deep-fried spaghetti patty, hot peppers and tomato sauce. The novelty to this whole thing is the deep-fried spaghetti patty. Its gimmick is the reason why they can charge $14 for the very coyly named S&M burger, but it’s also the most superfluous, useless item on the sandwich, a tasteless lump of… whatever. Compounding my irritation with the S&M was the messy food adventure I had with this one. See, I *knew* this was going to be a super-messy food, and not wanting to have a repeat of the Bad Boy burger episode, I had the server pre-cut the sandwich in half on top of giving me an empty french fry container and utensils. I figured after unpacking and taking a photo of the S&M I’d just transfer it from its packaging into the fry receptacle and knife ‘n’ fork it. Right at the moment I was about to do this, like a message sent straight from the food gods, a brisk wind promptly blew my fry container (and the utensils I had resting in it) off the table into a puddle-y refuse pile. I was left with no defense from the finger-staining, tectonic instability of this mutant. It was not pleasant. Save yourself the stunt and go for the straight meatball sandwich. 5.9/10

Frosted Flakes Chicken On A Stick

Iron Skillet’s Frosted Flakes Chicken On A Stick. Holy shit was this ever grrrrreeaat. You wouldn’t think a gimmick like a Frosted Flakes batter on chicken pieces, on a stick would work so well, but it did. The Flakes added both a textural crunch and just the right level of sweet and the chicken chunks themselves were juicy and delicious. It was basically like eating a radically bammed up souvlaki skewer where Popeye’s chicken engineers have figure out how to capture Tony the Tiger’s soul. 8/10

Fran's PB&J Milkshake

Fran’s PB&J Milkshake. Fran’s CNE food game has been tight since they took over a booth at the Ex for the first time last year. The latest in a series of new items for this year is the PB+J milkshake. I had my doubts — PB&J is more of a Sarah thing — but I was a quick convert one sip in. The consistency is right, the flavour is right and the whole package, complete with its whip cream topping and strawberry syrup drizzle, works very well. 7.4/10

Canada Dry Ginger Ale with Lime

Canada Dry Ginger Ale with Lime. Most of the time when we try this machine whatever the main pop is, that’s what it tastes like. So if you order root beer with a splash of vanilla it’s pretty much root beer. And if you get any does of vanilla in there it’s bonus. That’s not how things went when we decided to lime up some ginger ale. You could taste the lime. And if that’s what you were hoping for out of the experience, well, small victory then. 5.3/10

Round three, September 3
* I made an impromptu third visit to the Ex with this friends this day and (full confession) kinda sampled bits of their food as a cheat, including another pass at the still-awesome Fran’s Thanksgiving Turkey Waffle. Here are the new things I tackled:

Swiss Waffle's & Crepes' Strawberries and Soft Serve On A Deep Fried Waffle.

Swiss Waffle’s & Crepes’ Strawberries and Soft Serve On A Deep Fried Waffle. Yet another of these classic Ex treats, the Swiss Waffle people proudly state they’ve been around since 1968. This, the deep fried waffle-y cruller thing with soft serve vanilla ice cream and strawberries, was simple in its elegance, but also way awesome. At under $5 it also represents a solid value as far as midway treats go. 7/10

Far East Taco's Smore Bao.

Far East Taco’s Smore Bao. Marshmallow, hazelnut, chocolate, Graham cracker crumbs, sweet milk cream. This tastes *exactly* like a Wagon Wheel. 6.1/10

Just Cone It Grilled Chicken Cone.

Just Cone It Grilled Chicken Cone. Chicken, red peppers, onions and cheese. This was very similar to the pizza cones of the Mad Italian (do a Risky Fuel search) and indeed it might even be the same people. This specific cone, however, lacked anything… special. No sauce, no seasoning, nothing to elevate it beyond, “Hey, it’s stuff in a doughy cone.” Which is low novelty in a food building full of stunt edibles. 5.5/10

Fran's Deep Fried Rice Pudding Balls.

Fran’s Deep Fried Rice Pudding Balls. I stole one of these babies from my friend BlanchBot. Having no interest in rice pudding in general, I had low expectations for what deep frying said pudding might do to improve things. And yet, it did. By ballifying the pudding it adds a welcome new textural layer to the whole experience. Throwing in a lemon custard dip also bams things up a notch. Improbably, this one’s a winner. 6.8/10

Fanta Orange Soda.

Fanta Orange Soda. Because I have nostalgic association with the “Fanta” brand. 5/10

 

Additional reading:

Things I ate at the CNE in 2016. Bug Bistro’s Bug Dog and Fran’s Blueberry Milkshake with a slice of real blueberry pie.

Things I ate at the CNE in 2014. Including Fran’s Thanksgiving Turkey Waffle and Coco’s Fried Chicken Cocoa Chicken.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2013. Including Nutella Jalapeno Poppers and the S’more Dog.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2012. Including the Chocolate Eclair Dog and Bacon Nation Nutella BBBLT.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2011. Including the Krispy Kreme Hamburger and Deep Fried Twix.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2010. Including Deep Fried Butter and Taco In A Bag.

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Things I Ate At The C.N.E. In 2014

Coco's Fried Chicken. CNE 2014

Coco’s Fried Chicken. CNE 2014

Having recently completed my fifth annual tour of the Canadian National Exhibition‘s weird fair food offerings I can say with a certain amount of humility that this one nearly broke me.

For the first time ever I went to the Ex on three separate occasions. And though each time was during the “after 5 p.m.” weekday special — so I wasn’t there for a full day — these three trips came on three consecutive days. And as shocking as it may seem, three straight days of eating carnie stunt food tends to cause a certain amount of physiological rebellion within the human body.

To find out how this all turned out, read below…

First wave attack, Tuesday, August 26

Quench Lemonade. CNE 2014

Quench Lemonade. I started out with a fountain lemonade (part of my ongoing Ex campaign to not drink pop). It was fine, standard lemonade with maybe 20% too much sugar. The mushed lemon half thrown in certainly added a nice touch. 5.7/10

Just Cone It, Olympus Cone. CNE 2014

Just Cone It’s Olympus Cone. As a sucker for all forms of Greek food and as someone who decided he wanted to avoid the Bacon Nutella Pizza Cone, I went with the Olympus — a combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, feta and olives — instead. Problem number one was that before I took a bite the biggest piece of feta fell off the top of the cone on to the ground. Burn. Then, when actually eating the thing the watery juices spilled on my hands. On top of that the cukes tasted old and gross. 4.9/10

Orange Sorbet. CNE 2014

Orange Sorbet. This was Sarah’s. I helped finish it off. Classic orange sorbet. 6.5/10

Note: This Sorbet came from Eative and their weird sci-fi dry ice gastro-something station. I didn’t get to see any of that stuff. I just ate the leavins. (Thanks, Tara.)

Water Bottle Refill Station. CNE 2014

Water Bottle Refill Station. One of the great new institutions at the Ex is the prominent water bottle refill station right beside the eastern entrance of the Food Building. We actually refilled the lemonade cup multiple times to create lemon-bammed water. 8/10

Miami Ice's Monkey Junk. CNE 2014

Miami Ice’s Monkey Junk. Being a little naive to wordplay sometimes, when I bought this I failed to realize that “Monkey Junk” meant “frozen banana smoothie popsicle.” Is that racist? Or has everything-is-racist sensitivity made me incapable of seeing it simply as “monkeys like bananas, this has bananas, therefore we’ll call it ‘Monkey Junk’?” Either way, by the time I got to the melty end of this it was kinda awful. 4.8/10

Fran's Thanksgiving Turkey Waffle. CNE 2014

Fran’s Thanksgiving Turkey Waffle. Fran’s first year at the Ex was impressive. For stunt food the Thanksgiving turkey waffle was a solid meal. The portion size was huge and the service at the Fran’s booth was beautiful in its ruthless efficiency. About the only thing wrong with this meal — which was basically an open-face turkey sandwich with waffle instead of bread — was the cranberries. Nobody actually likes cranberries. They should die. 7.8/10

Second wave, Wednesday, August 27. One of my main goals on this night was to check out classic Can-Rockers April Wine. This cut into my eating time…

Reese Flurry. CNE 2014

Reese Flurry. I’ve always loved soft serve ice cream and this was no different. That said, by the time you get to the bottom of this the remaining Reese’s Pieces are reasonably frozen and therefore not much fun to chew/bite. 6.8/10

Miller Genuine Draft. CNE 2014.

Miller Genuine Draft. I had two of these. They were normal beers from the Big Beer Industrial Complex. 6.2/10

Iron Skillet Sirloin Tips. CNE 2014

Iron Skillet Sirloin Tips and Garlic Mash Potatoes. These were very hit-the-spot tasty bits of steak ‘n’ potato. The best part being that the Iron Skillet folks weren’t scare of seasoning, which is a risk at some of these food stalls during the Ex. 7.9/10

El Gordo from Chunky Cheese Gourmet Grilled Cheese. CNE 2014

El Gordo from Chunky Cheese Gourmet Grilled Cheese. Featuring Monterey Jack, sundried tomatoes, chicken breast pieces, salsa, chipotle spread and jalapeno peppers, this was one totally alright sandwich. It’s relative quality was a good salve because they also sold something called the Elvis sandwich — an abomination featuring peanut butter, cheese, bananas and some other crap — which I couldn’t bring myself to try. 7.5/10

Hula Girl Expresso's Crobar. CNE 2014

Hula Girl Expresso’s Crobar. This was the croissant/chocolate bar hybrid that was one of this year’s alpha stunt foods. I’d consider it more “turnover” and less “croissant,” and there was nothing approaching the volume of a full chocolate bar in there (it was more like three squares of a Caramilk bar), but it was still quite tasty. 7.2/10

I wanted to try the Deep Fried Cheesecake, but it was sold out. So then I tried to get a Deep Fried Cola and that was sold out, too. Left with little else on the novelty food spectrum I went with…

Bacon Nation Sundae. CNE 2014

Bacon Nation Sundae. This is a normal soft serve ice cream sundae with caramel and chocolate. Except the bottom of the cup is filled with bacon bits and the garnish is two slices of bacon. The bacon slices weren’t so odd. After all, if you order something like a Grand Slam breakfast there’s often some collateral pancake syrup-to-bacon damage on those plates. But the bacon bits, man, that was… wrong. By the bottom of the cup it was just chocolate syrup and bacon bits in an unholy and inedible combination of the sort that’d make drinking fracking detritus seem relatively desirable. 3/10

Third wave, Thursday, August 28. Finally, on the third day I spotted a modest lineup for this year’s alpha food event, Coco’s Fried Chicken…

Coco's Fried Chicken Honey Butter Buttermilk Biscuit. CNE 2014

Coco’s Fried Chicken Buttermilk Biscuits With Whipped Honey Butter. Not bad. Not Popeye’s. 6.8/10

Coco's Fried Chicken Cocoa Chicken. CNE 2014

Coco’s Fried Chicken Cocoa Chicken. Chocolate chicken? What the fuck? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but it basically tastes like normal fried chicken. With maybe a bit of cumin. There was nary a hint of chocolate beyond the appearance. Sidenote: The fries were really good… Coco’s has their fry game down. Sidenote #2: Do NOT get the “chocolate ketchup” dipping sauce. Imagine licking the toilets on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship… that’s what it tasted like.  Chicken 7.5/10, Fries 7.8/10, Chocolate Ketchup 1.2/10

Wild Child Kitchen's Booster Juice. CNE 2014

Wild Child Kitchen’s Booster Juice. Having been thumped by the massive Cacao Chicken I needed a pick-me-up and for this I went to the hippies at Wild Child. I got something good from them last year so this year I decided to try the Booster Juice — beets, apples, carrots, ginger, lemon. The look of the Booster is great. Think “what True Blood prop juice must be made of,” but the actual drinking of the Booster? Let’s just say there’s such a thing as too much beet. And however much beet was in this drink was exactly too much beet. The slurry at the end of this — a combo of beet pulp and ginger — was undrinkable. 4/10

Special mention. The exact time required for the Wild Child Booster Juice to make its way through the entire human body is four hours. And when it does leave the human body it does so in spectacular, porcelain-staining, technicolour fashion.

Cherry Slushy. CNE 2014

Cherry Slushy. I got this to slink back into my comfort zone after the trauma of the Booster Juice. 5.9/10

My desire to try the churros was 100 per cent influenced by Clone High

I Love Churros' Chocolate Churros. CNE 2014

I Love Churros’ Chocolate Churros. A Spanish alternative to the classic sugar doughnut, these churros started out amazing. They were straight out of the deep fryer and their texture — a crispy, sugar-sprinkled exterior combined with a slightly doughy interior — made for magical mouthpleasures. Until I got to the bottom of the first one, that is. The chocolate syrup that had been pumped into the center of the churro had pooled at the bottom and become super-heated. So when I bit into it I got a gusher of scalding chocolate syrup in my mouth, essentially burning my tongue to the point where today I taste nothing. Also, after finishing these I almost randomly barfed without any notice or provocation. I blame that on the cumulative effects of the three days, not on the churros, though. 6/10

Additional reading:

Things I ate at the CNE in 2016. Bug Bistro’s Bug Dog and Fran’s Blueberry Milkshake with a slice of real blueberry pie.

Things I ate at the CNE in 2015. Including Frosted Flakes Chicken On A Stick and The S&M Burger.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2013. Including Nutella Jalapeno Poppers and the S’more Dog.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2012. Including the Chocolate Eclair Dog and Bacon Nation Nutella BBBLT.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2011. Including the Krispy Kreme Hamburger and Deep Fried Twix.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2010. Including Deep Fried Butter and Taco In A Bag.

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Things I Ate At The C.N.E. In 2013

There was no Cronut Burger for me.

There was no Cronut Burger for me.

Yesterday I properly completed my annual pilgrimage to the Canadian National Exhibition to eat bizarre fair foods. Once again it was a full-on adventure.

The marquee attraction this year was Epic Burger’s “Cronut Burger,” a hamburger made from a bun fused from croissant and donut, all with a maple bacon jam atop it. Alas, said maple bacon jam made 223 people ill  from Staphylococcus aureus toxin a week earlier and when I went to buy one yesterday it had understandably been banned from sale.

Of note, I was this close to purchasing a Cronut Burger on the day it poisoned everyone into barfing uncontrollably and shitting their pants. That was the same night as the Jane’s Addiction/Alice In Chains concert and as I passed through the Ex to go to the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre for the show I stopped in the Food Building for dinner. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the lineup for the Cronut Burger was too long so I had Jalapeno Poppers somewhere else instead.

I did, however, make up for it by eating some other horrible things which I have photographed and rated below for your vicarious thrills.

Check them out:

Nutella Sweet Potato Fries

Nutella Sweet Potato Fries. For deep fryer food these fries were pretty much perfectly done. There was too much Nutella, though, and I’m convinced this put me into a mild diabetic coma for the next three hours. 6/10

Fountain Cola

Fountain Cola. The tyranny of Coca-Cola products continues at the Ex. (Try to find a healthy drink. I challenge you.) So we gave in and got that fountain machine refill deal again. First blast was root beer with vanilla. It was ok. 5/10

Breakfast Dog

Breakfast Dog. A hot dog with scrambled egg on it, wrapped in chicken bacon. I’m a bit of fastidious eater, so when food is messy I consider it an insult. For this meal three separate chunks of egg had landed on my shirt before I had even taken a bite. That, and the chicken bacon was gross. 3.3/10

Nutella Jalapeno Poppers

Nutella Jalapeno Poppers. This was one of things I had on the escape-the-Cronut night. The Poppers were standard pub fare, but well done, and the Nutella was more discreetly layered this time. 5. 7/10

Wild Child Kitchen's Wild Cacao Smoothie

Wild Child Kitchen’s Wild Cacao Smoothie. When I was in my diabetic coma I declared we needed a healthy drink. After hunting for ages we found the Wild Child Kitchen, which served up juices, smoothies and vegan dishes. This was Sarah’s drink and it was bammed up with cacao. Too much I’d say. 5.8/10

Wild Child Kitchen's juice

Wild Child Kitchen’s juice. I had a watermelon/cuccumber/lemon juice thing and it was hella good. Also, as a cost-to-labor ratio, the gals at Wild Child were super-busting their asses to make our drinks compared to the efforts of other vendors. 7.3/10

Corn Dog and Ice Tea

Corn Dog and Ice Tea. This was also from Cronut night. Standard Corn Dog… 6/10. Fountain ice tea… 4/10.

Mongolian Beef Flatbread

Mongolian Beef Flatbread. The thing about white people is they’re scared of that thar foreigner food. Like beef, carrots, bean sprouts and onions in gravy on bread. There was no lineup for this Mongolian place and it was great. 7/10

Smore Dog

S’more Dog. A chicken wiener dipped in chocolate with graham cracker bits and marshmallows on it. This was wrong. It wasn’t as fundamentally horrible as the Chocolate Eclair Dog I ate last year, it just made no sense. And it was messy. It WAS a conversation piece, though. Multiple people came up and talked to me while I was eating it. 2.3/10

Additional reading:

Things I ate at the CNE in 2016. Bug Bistro’s Bug Dog and Fran’s Blueberry Milkshake with a slice of real blueberry pie.

Things I ate at the CNE in 2015. Including Frosted Flakes Chicken On A Stick and The S&M Burger.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2014. Including Cocoa Chicken and the Thanksgiving Turkey Waffle.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2012. Including the Chocolate Eclair Dog and Bacon Nation Nutella BBBLT.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2011. Including the Krispy Kreme Hamburger and Deep Fried Twix.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2010. Including Deep Fried Butter and Taco In A Bag. I

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Things I Ate At The C.N.E. In 2012

Butter Rob Ford

Rob Ford in his natural element – butter. I didn’t eat this.

Each year I go down to the Canadian National Exhibition and try out an assortment of the bizarre and gimmicky foods they have there. In 2010 it was stuff like Deep Fried Butter and Taco In A Bag, and in 2011 it was things like Deep Fried Pickle and a hamburger made using Krispy Kreme doughnuts as buns.

Once again, this year yielded some fascinating and gruesome taste sensations — including the worst thing I’ve encounter in the three years of tracking this stuff.

Scroll down to see what I consumed:

The first stop was to the Coke booth to purchase a refillable cup and then partake of the magic flavour fountain pop selector machine they have. Basically, it’s like when you’re a kid and you try mixing a million flavours of pop together all at once. First you pick your drink base (choices seen below), then you’re sent to another screen where you can add flavour shots like vanilla, cherry and peach, then the machine fills your cup with the chosen concoction.

Pop Fountain

The magic flavour spooger Coke product machine.

Vanilla & Cherry Coke

This would be our first concoction, Vanilla & Cherry Coke. I was a big fan of the now-disappeared Vanilla Coke so this was a happy return of sorts. Better than normal Coke, but still fountain pop. 6.6/10.

Mandoo Beef Dumplings

We were going to hit the crazy train early and start with Kimchi fries from Far East Taco, but because the Food Building was just opening they weren’t exactly on their game yet. The Mandoo Beef Dumplings were ready though, so we had those. Solid, simple dumplings, they didn’t suck — because dumplings rarely do — but they weren’t exactly a mouthsterpiece either. 7/10.

From here it was on to the big trendy food booth for this year — Bacon Nation — where everything they serve was wrapped in bacon. I decided to go big with one of the ridiculous signature sandwiches on the menu, the Nutella BBBLT. This sandwich is comprised of back bacon, the L&T, bacon, more bacon, and Nutella, all spread over toast. Or at least it was supposed to…

Bacon Nation Nutella BBBLT

The Bacon Nation Nutella BBBLT. As a BLT it solidly does its job. 7.5/10.

Notella BBBLT

Unfortunately, what I got was the Bacon Nation No-tella BBBLT. There was no Nutella. So I basically paid $12 for a novelty sandwich that didn’t have the key component of its novelty. This means this sandwich was actually a complete failure. 0/10.

Fried Egg Sandwich

Sarah then ordered a classic grilled cheese from the Mac ‘N’ Cheesery (sic?) with a fried egg in it. I think she liked it. I had some of her chips — Miss Vickie’s regular (5.5/10) and pickle chunk (5.6/10).

By this time we were had pretty much finished our first wave of the Food Building, which we topped off with another round of pop.

Barq's Vanilla Rootbeer

Pop round two was Barq’s Vanilla Root Beer. This was a totally acceptable choice, though the vanilla flavour was a little on the subtle side. 6.4./10.

From there we wandered around the Ex shopping area. I bought a cowboy hat and almost bought some Russian military hats, then it was on to more food.
Rasberry Coke

Rasberry Coke. This was not a good idea. 3/10.

Greek Cheese Pie

This here is the Greek Cheese Pie from one of those independent booths that only lasts one year. It was basically a baked pita with olive oil on it and wee chunks of cheese. Underwhelming, if that’s a word. 5/10

Sesame Zaatar With Cheese Pie

Sesame Zaatar With Cheese Pie. This was Sarah’s. She liked it, but there appeared to be none of the cheese we asked for. I tried it too. I thought it tasted like birdseed. 4.8/10.

From there we went and checked out the Farm building, mostly to get a photo of the Mayor Rob Ford butter sculpture (shown above). It’s pretty brilliant — him in his natural state and all. The Creature From The Black Lagoon sculpture was technically better, though.
Creature From The Black Lagoon

Creature From The Black Lagoon, sculpted out of butter.

We also went to the Arts & Crafts Building — a horrible, horrible exercise in dodging doddering olds, rubbernecking rubes, parents with mega strollers and those generally incapable of navigating crowds — to stock up on fudge.
Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla Fudge. Vanilla totally gets a bad rap just because it’s associated with white people. This shiz is tasty. 8.1/10.

M&M Fudge

M&M Fudge. This is one of Sarah’s favourites. 7.8/10.

Oh My Gosh Fudge

Oh My Gosh Fudge. I’m still trying to figure out what this is made of exactly, but I think it’s got marshmallows and caramel in it. Tasty, though. 8/10.

Red Velvet Fudge

Red Velvet Fudge. I’m still not entirely sold on this whole red velvet food colouring trend, but this was just under the straight vanilla for tastiness. 7.9/10.

Peach Sprite

Another round of pop. Peach Sprite. This was like licking the bottom of a fruit stand clean. The worst. 2/10.

Beer break! (And frozen margarita break. That was some strong tequila.)

Frozen Margarita and Creemore beer

Frozen Margarita and Creemore beer. They’ve got booze in ’em, right? Right. 10/10.

Our finite food limits were starting to be reached so we began planning our last eats. First up — something with actual vegetables in it.
Veggie Loaded Potato

This was a giant Veggie Loaded Potato from Baked ‘n’ Loaded, or Loaded and Baked, or Loaded Potatoface or whatever it was called. It was huge and featured broccoli, green beans, carrots and cheese jammed in the middle of a sea salt crusted baked potato. This was a welcome change from our non-stop sugar consumption and it was alright as far as vegetable slurry goes, too. 7.5/10.

Before we enter into the closing eats phase, I should probably cop to two of my great food pet peeves — food with poor structural integrity, and food that makes your hands messy. It’s my belief that if my food falls apart at any point, this represents a fundamental failure on the part of the person designing it. Likewise, if my hands get dirty eating something it’s the same thing. In a world were we can make watermelons that are square-shaped, we can make it so food doesn’t fall apart all over us, right? Or can we?
Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream On A Stick With Sprinkles

Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream On A Stick With Sprinkles. In theory, this should have been a tasty treat, but the hot chocolate dip make the ice cream melt too quickly and the result was a drippy, deteriorating mess made worse by the chunks of chocolate sprinkle randomly falling to the ground. And being the cheapskate I am, each chunk that fell I was going “That’s 72 cents… That’s 12 cents… That’s 23 cents…” What should have been gold, wasn’t. 6/10.

And then, the finale. I had seen this first thing in the morning and had been plagued with the thought of it all day — the Chocolate Eclair Hot Dog. I did not want to eat this. I knew it was going to be bad. But in the same way a fight gets declared in a schoolyard for after school I knew this was an inevitable tangle I was going to have to face. So just before we wrapped up our Ex visit for the day, I did…
Maple Lodge Chocolate Eclair Hot Dog

The Maple Lodge Chocolate Eclair Hot Dog was one of the worst things I have ever eaten. Things did not get off to a good start when the group of college bros in line before me ordered one, got their order and proceeded to conduct an elaborate photo shoot before attempting to eat it — they were doing it as a dare. It didn’t get any better after I ordered and the first thing the server did was hand me a half-dozen napkins. So I got my Eclair and quickly rushed out of the Food Building to near BMO Field where there’d be less people to see me eat this…
Exactly like the title suggests, this is a chocolate eclair with a hot dog in the middle. On their own they’re both fine foodstuff, but the combination of chicken wiener and whipped cream was not a good one. Worse though, was the mess. Falling, dripping globs of cream landed at your feet, soaked through the napkins onto your hands and generally created the tactile sensation that you were being covered in sticky-sweet hot dog water. With Sarah’s help we wolfed this down (she was actually turning away from people walking in the nearby thoroughfare because she didn’t want anyone seeing her attempting to eat this). It was, truly, a heroically awful food experience. 1.1/10.

Additional reading:

Things I ate at the CNE in 2016. Bug Bistro’s Bug Dog and Fran’s Blueberry Milkshake with a slice of real blueberry pie.

Things I ate at the CNE in 2015. Including Frosted Flakes Chicken On A Stick and The S&M Burger.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2014. Including Cocoa Chicken and the Thanksgiving Turkey Waffle.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2013. Including Nutella Jalapeno Poppers and the S’more Dog.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2011. Including the Krispy Kreme Hamburger and Deep Fried Twix.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2010. Including Deep Fried Butter and Taco In A Bag

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Filed under Food, Recollections, The Misadventures Of

Things I Ate At The C.N.E. In 2011

For various reasons I wasn’t quite able to go to town on the food at the Canadian National Exhibition in the same way as last year, but I still managed to leave a solid lump of fatty battered products in my belly.

Here’s what I ate at The Ex this year:

Coca-Cola

A litre of cola. I’ve stopped trying to fight the omnipresence of Coke products. 3.6/10.

Corn Dog

This corn dog was better than the one we had last year. Got this from the vendor inside the Food Building who specialized in deep frying stuff and there was clearly a higher level of expertise than when hitting the midway deep fryer people. 6.1/10.

Jolly Rancher Blue Rasberry Ice Beverage

This was the Jolly Rancher Blue Rasberry Ice Beverage. Or, if you’ve got a kid, you tell them you’re drinking Smurf blood. There was a weird candy/chemical aftertaste to this. 5.8/10

Smurf Tongue

… But drinking Smurf blood did have one pretty entertaining side-effect. This super-blue tongue of mine lasted almost 24 hours.

Deep Fried Twix

This would be the Deep Fried Twix. I love Twix like a fat kid loves Twix, but deep frying it didn’t really bam things up at all and the “cookie” part ended up being a bit of an obstacle. Last year’s Deep Fried Mars Bar remains superior. 6.5/10

Barq's Root Beer

Barq’s Root Beer. You know if you buy this jug from the Coke booth you get refills for $2.50, right? 5/10.

Fried Egg And Cheese Sandwich

Fried Egg And Cheese Sandwich. After some middling experience with the Mac ‘N’ Cheesery’s deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese last year, Sarah opted for the fried egg ‘n’ cheese sandwich instead. It was the right choice. Instead of pulling gross macaroni from a vat, they made this sandwich fresh. Also, it came with chips and a pickle. 5.9/10.

Deep Fried Pickle

I had a Deep Fried Pickle. And it wasn’t bad either. Adding some ranch dressing to dip was a nice touch, too. 6.4/10.

Deep Fried Pickle

And yes, there was a pickle hidden in that Deep Fried Pickle.

Double Grilled Cheese Hamburger

This would be Sarah’s Double Grilled Cheese Hamburger, which was two grilled cheese sandwiches with a hamburger in the middle. I had to eat half for her. This thing was quite unwieldy and a good four inches high. It didn’t reach such heights in flavour, though. 5.3/10.

Deep Fried Ah Caramel

Vachon’s Ah Caramels are one of my favourite foods ever and I can consume a whole box at once given the opportunity. As it turns out, however, deep frying does these treats a disservice. This was sadly underwhelming, if that’s a word. 6/10.

Deep Fried Ah Caramel

The coagulated innards of the Deep Fried Ah Caramel post-one bite.

Krispy Kreme Hamburger

And the headliner… the Krispy Kreme Hamburger — two Krispy Kreme donuts with a hamburger inbetween. It turns out this wasn’t all that bad. The donuts are tasty and, because I didn’t put any condiments or garnishes on it save for lettuce and tomato, most of the tastes were relatively complimentary. The only real drawback was — considering my borderline pathological hatred of getting my hands dirty from food — the weak-ass structural integrity of the whole thing. Basically, it’s messy as fuck. Which means you have to fight your way to the Ex bathrooms to wash your hands after. Still, it wasn’t gross. 6.4/10.

Additional reading:

Things I ate at the CNE in 2016. Bug Bistro’s Bug Dog and Fran’s Blueberry Milkshake with a slice of real blueberry pie.

Things I ate at the CNE in 2015. Including Frosted Flakes Chicken On A Stick and The S&M Burger.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2014. Including Cocoa Chicken and the Thanksgiving Turkey Waffle.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2013. Including Nutella Jalapeno Poppers and the S’more Dog.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2012. Including the Chocolate Eclair Dog and Bacon Nation Nutella BBBLT.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2010. Including Deep Fried Butter and Taco In A Bag.

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Filed under Food, Recollections, The Misadventures Of

Things I Ate At The C.N.E. In 2010

We’re starting to get psyched for the 2011 Canadian National Exhibition and all the weird food we’re going to eat there. To help build anticipation in the rest of the world, here’s a list of the things that we nommed last year:

Coke at C.N.E. 2010

I had some of this big Coca-Cola. It was just your average corn syrup-based fountain Coke. 3/10… I was thirsty.

Deep fried mac 'n' cheese

The infamous deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese is mighty boring. The exterior has an interesting crunchy contrast to the gooey/borderline overcooked interior, but there’s zero flavour. Save your dough. 4/10

Deep fried mac 'n' cheese innards

The innards of the infamous deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese. 4/10

Pickle slice

This pickle slice came from Sarah’s grilled cheese meal. Solid, if unspectacular. 5.8/10

Pizza on a stick

Mama’s Pizza pizza on a stick. Do NOT let yourself get fooled by this gimmick like I was. It’s just normal pizza. With a paint stir stick in it. 5/10

Plain Chip

This plain crinkle chip came from Sarah’s grilled cheese meal. I hate plain chips. They contribute nothing to the world. 2/10

Deep fried Mars bar

Deep fried Mars bar. This was a pretty good time, though you need to be careful eating it because it slides on its skewer and you end up covered in icing sugar powder. 7.2/10

Pizza on a stick stick

Here’s the stick from the Mama’s Pizza pizza on a stick. 1/10

Lineup

This lineup is why I didn’t try any of the chocolate covered bacon, deep fried butter or deep fried twinkie.

Lemonade

I tried to find something to drink that “wasn’t owned by Coca-Cola.” The best I could do was Minute Maid lemonade… which means I didn’t do well at all. 5/10

Waffle ice cream sandwich photobomb

Waffle ice cream sandwich. I was most looking forward to this but the deep fried Mars bar ended up being better. Notice the photobomb cameo from Crazy Frog. 6.8./10

Chocolate vanilla fudge

Chocolate-vanilla fudge. Good stuff, but it faces a losing battle because it’ll never match my grandmother’s. 6.7/10

Orange cream fudge

Orange cream fudge. I thought it would taste like Creamsicle but it tastes like Fruit Loops. 6.7/10

Deep fried butter

Deep fried butter. Yes, I did it. Sarah and I went for a second trip to the Ex, got there early and got in line for this food wonder. It wasn’t the horror show I was expecting. It was kinda like a pancake/timbit/cruller with a thoroughly melted, buttery and batter-y inner shell (the centre is hollowed because the butter melts into its surrounding batter). 5.5/10

Twinkle Log

This was the Twinkle Log from the same place. I’m not a Twinkie fan and was hoping for a major bam-up. A chocolate dip and some nuts isn’t it. 3.2/10

Coke Zero

Coke Zero, because I didn’t want Coke. 3/10

Carrots

Free Hidden Valley ranch dressing sample with carrots. Glorious, glorious vegetables. It was like a little dose of sanity in my deep fried adventure. 6/10

Corn Dog

Corn Dogs are always a good time. An all-beef weiner would improve these things by a large margin, but it was OK. 5.7/10

Fruit Twists

Free sample Fruit Twists!

Fruit Twists

The Fruit Twists were shaped like licorice and tasted like Fruit Roll-Up meets strawberry jam. Which makes total sense, I guess. 5.7/10

Peach smoothie

Free sample of Europe’s Best peach smoothie. I generally hate peaches but this ended up being alright. Not too peachy, not too weird in the smoothie texture. 6.1/10

Taco in a bag

Taco In A Bag. I tried this… so you don’t have to. It was a bag of Doritos with a mess of taco ingredients thrown in there. Think sub-nacho with a high potential for messy fingers. And the hamburger was cold. At least there was some guacamole. 5.5/10

Barq's Root Beer

Barq’s Root Beer. Root beer is alright in my books. 5/10

Butterfly wings potato shavings

Butterfly Wings potato shavings. I had very little faith these would be any good owing to my hatred of plain potato chips, but man was I wrong. The fresh-from-the-fryer-sligh​tly-chewy-texture vibe of these was amazing. 6.7/10

Candy Floss ice cream

Candy Floss flavoured ice cream. The candy floss was pretty subtle. 6.2/10

Monkey Crunch ice cream

Monkey Crunch flavoured ice cream. I’m not sure what the “monkey crunch” was, but most of it was simple chocolate ice cream. 6.4/10

Additional reading:

Things I ate at the CNE in 2016. Bug Bistro’s Bug Dog and Fran’s Blueberry Milkshake with a slice of real blueberry pie.

Things I ate at the CNE in 2015. Including Frosted Flakes Chicken On A Stick and The S&M Burger.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2014. Including Cocoa Chicken and the Thanksgiving Turkey Waffle.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2013. Including Nutella Jalapeno Poppers and the S’more Dog.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2012. Including the Chocolate Eclair Dog and Bacon Nation Nutella BBBLT.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2011. Including the Krispy Kreme Hamburger and Deep Fried Twix.

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Filed under Food, Photos, The Misadventures Of